As soon as once more, the San Francisco 49ers have navigated early-season accidents, and a season-opening loss to the Chicago Bears, and discover themselves nicely positioned to make a late-season run.
At 5-4, they’re roster is as sturdy because it has ever been with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. With a working again tandem of Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk main a deep huge receiver corps, a wholesome George Kittle and Trent Williams, and the ninth-greatest weighted defensive DVOA within the league, the 49ers are as harmful as any staff happening the house stretch of the NFL season.
They’re nonetheless behind the Seattle Seahawks within the NFC West, however which may solely be till the top of the 49ers’ Monday Evening Soccer matchup towards the Arizona Cardinals. A win tonight offers the Niners the identical report because the Seahawks who’re on a bye this week. The 49ers beat the Seahawks at residence in Week 2, and the 2 groups will meet once more in Seattle in Week 15.
All that San Fran has to do to maintain trending upward is to verify they don’t blow this Week 11 sport.
The Cardinals are with out Kyler Murray for the second consecutive week. They gained their Week 10 matchup towards the division rival Rams, however the Tremendous Bowl champions’ title protection has been a large number from the beginning. Additionally, they too went into that sport with a backup quarterback behind middle.
For many of this season, the Cardinals have appeared disorganized and disjointed. For all the velocity and ability on offense, it is without doubt one of the worst items within the NFL. Prime huge receiver DeAndre Hopkins returned from his six-week PEDs suspension has helped, however the offense nonetheless has one of many league’s worst DVOA scores.
Nonetheless, whereas the Cardinals’ offense hasn’t all the time been essentially the most cohesive unit, gamers which can be explosive all the time have the potential to trigger issues. Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Robby Anderson have the expertise to place an unfocused protection shortly behind on the scoreboard.
The Niners can’t let that occur. Falling a sport behind the Seahawks can be extraordinarily troublesome to make up within the closing seven weeks of the common season. After a house sport subsequent week towards the struggling New Orleans Saints, the 49ers go up towards the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seahawks, and surging Washington Commanders.
Throughout that very same stretch, the Seahawks host the Las Vegas Raiders subsequent week, after which go up towards the Rams and lowly Carolina Panthers earlier than internet hosting the 49ers. If the Seahawks begin this stretch, after their bye, up a sport, they’d have an opportunity to shut the division race earlier than their Christmas Eve matchup on the highway towards the Kansas City Chiefs.
If the 49ers wish to win a championship, they should try to keep away from occurring the highway in 4 consecutive rounds. Even the Cincinnati Bengals hosted one playoff sport on their option to the Tremendous Bowl final season.
One much less week of journey, and a matchup towards a wild-card staff within the first spherical, might be simply the push that the 49ers have to get them over the hump. However in an effort to put their staff in that place, they will’t have a let down towards the Cardinals.